Roberta Annan (a Ghanaian-born entrepreneur) launched the Impact Fund for African Creatives with the ambition to create the first luxury group on the African continent. It is one the first long-term capital vehicles that seeks to harness the creative potential of Africa’s creative industries.
Annan said in a statement that “This week is where Africa makes history.” “Nigerian designer Kenneth Ize is the first African to open Paris Fashion Week. He was an early beneficiary. Today, nearing the end of the event, we launched IFFAC. Our goal is to consolidate luxury brands across Africa and contribute to Africa’s economic development.”
The launch featured African brands, which are part of IFFAC’s investment portfolio companies, such as Kenneth Ize and ETHOS Members Club, Chef Coco, GM & Ahrens, MANSA from Ebony Skincare, and the Ambassador’s Collective, which included Adama Paris and Orange Culture, Emmy Kasbit and Elie Kuame, were all presented by Ahrens.
The unveiling of IFFAC comes at a moment when African culture is becoming a more prominent feature on the international stage, from music to fashion. However, it is still difficult to attract investment. Only 1.1 percent of African start-up investment went to the creative industries in 2019. Many African countries lack formal education opportunities for creative careers. Entrepreneurs lack the business management skills necessary to make their talents commercially viable.
This fund will provide support for African professionals by providing capital, skills, and network to help them reach a global audience. The fund will provide grants and investments in the early stages to qualified businesses. It also provides a structured format of vocational and technical skills training, mentorship, and networking platform.
“The African creative industry is an important part of the investment mix to ensure the future of Africa’s economy. We are currently curating projects from this sector, which will be featured at the AIF 2021 Market Days, Abidjan, Cote-d’Ivoire, December.” Chinelo Anohu (senior director, African Investment Forum) said in a statement that “IFFAC and its investors deserve my appreciation for their vision and commitment to social equity as well as environmental sustainability in their operations.” The African Fashion Foundation was established in 2011 by Annan to support emerging designers on the continent.
Kenneth Ize said that Roberta and The African Fashion Foundation were essential in helping him build his brand when he was just starting. That support allowed me to take my work to a global audience.
IFFAC will grant grants of 10,000 – 50,000 euro to select projects. Successful entrepreneurs will be eligible for 250,000 to 2 million euros in venture capital towards a business plan. The selection criteria will consider proof of concept, compatibility to IFFAC focus areas and regional and global scalability. A growth mindset focused upon value creation is also key.
Roberta Annan, a Ghanaian, is the founder and managing partner for Annan Capital Partners (ACP). Since over a decade, ACP has advised some of the most prominent funds and corporate investors around the globe. She is the youngest African inductee into the African Leadership Hall of Fame. She is a member of the Conde Nast College of Fashion & Design’s Advisory Council. Design, and was recognized as a UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador because of her advocacy for sustainability in the industry.
Annan said that she had met “incredible talent” across the continent. She also noted that Annan was able to see so much originality and innovation. “But, I also observed a dearth of infrastructure and management skills necessary to scale these innovative businesses. This is why IFFAC was founded.